Thursday, April 30, 2009

Those were the days!

I spent way too many hours last night (well early morning actually!) scanning hundreds of my pre-digital photos. My sister and I decided to have a slide show running on her laptop, at the party, of the two cousins and since I'm only a recent participant in the digital age I needed to get on to the task! I have already gone through the BIG baby blues and am very comfortable with the fact that these two little ladies are all there will ever be but one does get a bit nostalgic for those baby days while going through the photos! The thing about maturing is that before the BIG baby blues I would get nostalgic and feel like I needed another baby but now it's more like a longing to return to the time pictured in the photos. I struggle to find the energy to keep up with these two fairly independent souls and their schedules let alone an energetic toddler! Well, at least I now have a hefty pool of pictures to draw from for future posts :)!!! I loooove this picture of Mari holding her baby sister for the first time as SISTERS. We had gone and visited when Julia was 5 weeks old with Mari but had left her home for the pick-up trip. Good thing because the attorney had severely bent the truth on when the amended birth certificate had been issued and we arrived to find that she didn't even have the passport yet!! Luckily that was in an earlier era in Guatemalan adoptions when the Pink was issued on the spot at the embassy window once the completed packet was presented. (for the non-adoption crowd it was the color of the paperwork issued giving permission for the final physical and visa interview and thus the name) What was supposed to be a 3 day trip turned into a 9 day saga and poor Mari was waiting so anxiously back in Illinois with Auntie Peggy for her baby sister to finally come home.
Just look at how Julia is looking up at Mari!! All of the cousins had come wearing patriotic t-shirts to greet the newest member of the gang.....obviously it was pre 9/11 since you see they are all sitting in the gate area!!
My Mom holding Julia for the first time back when she was healthy and confident enough to leave the security of her living room. Tell me you aren't melting into those gorgeous eyes!!
Funny but I have a bunch of pictures of the two of them down on the floor hugging each other?!?! The sibling rivalry is pretty healthy so I forget these candid moments when it's apparent that they really do love each other. I'm thinking of trying to do up a poster of these shots to hang in their rooms so they can be reminded of how much they love each other!!!
This is so their relationship in a nut shell!! Mari torn between a big hug or a choke hold while Julia happily grins and plays along with whatever Mari devises.
Well I'm stalling here and need to get to a list of a million things that need to be done for the party on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Portrait Session

Since Julia's school requires a student to be on antibiotics for at least 24hr before returning to class we took advantage of the 'day off' to get some studio portraits. At the end of the post is a link to the proofs for your viewing pleasure. I could hardly choose since they all turned out so great!! Also for your viewing pleasure I've put a couple of our amateur shots taken on Mari's big day. If only this Saturday could have as glorious weather as we had for Mari's Communion day!
Make up and jewelry for the diva! Julia wouldn't even let me put a bit of blush on for the portraits :)
Hopefully Grandma will be able to get out for the two granddaughters' special ceremony! My Mom is getting very frail lately and it's so hard to watch her miss so many occasions.
As close as I came to the studio posing that you see in Julia's pictures!
Sadly I was actually planning on wearing the same skirt on Saturday! I'm so in a rut with my wardrobe. I do still consider this one of our best family pictures. Hope the link works!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mr. Murphy I NEED to talk to you....NOW!

We Irish are a very perverse lot! Lord knows we are a well populated and generally cohesive voting block long practised in throwing our collective weight around. So the fact that an ironic/sardonic observation on human nature is called "Murphy's Law" must mean that we as a group were 'fine' with the moniker. No indignant rage over a racial stereotype that I know of on this topic so I must assume Mr. Murphy was proud to sign his name to the collection of observations. In which case, Mr. Murphy WHERE THE H@*# ARE YOU? I have a bone to pick and you must know how verrrrrrry bad it will be to ignore a steamed red haired country woman! Call me, NOW! You see we have this kind of big event happening on Saturday and the star of the show is lacking the necessary luster. Little Miss Julia, our tiny preemie baby, has this habit of masking the early warning signs most medical personnel use to diagnose an impending illness!!! It's spring and our Allergy Queen has been battling itchy hands and scratchy tongue for at least a week now. Normal for her, really! Protocol initiated in plenty of time and NOT ONE WHEEZE has been heard since Good Friday. Meantime, Mari decides to donate her flu bug to Mom and Dad and the three 'healthy' ones, who are walking mucus factories, envied the only one left standing....Julia! We seriously empathised with the Swine Flu victims!! Then last night Julia announces at bedtime that her "itchy" throat is "really bad" so I pop her open and see tonsils that nearly kiss. Enlarged yes, inflamed or abscessed no. So I add Ibuprofen to the protocol, give her a Sucrets to suck on and tuck her in to bed. This morning she's bright as a penny and proclaiming great health, which I confirmed with the thermometer, so off to school she's sent. The two of them giggled, chortled, and acted like circus clowns after school as we ran errands and in high spirits we decided to 'treat' ourselves to a girl's night out at our favorite Mexican cantina. I totally MISSED the first big clue of where the rest of our night was headed....Julia shunned the chips and salsa for coloring and Sprite! It spiralled from there but I was so ten steps behind....... Yep, we ended up at Urgent Care! See what I mean???? Does this look like a child with a VERY POSITIVE STREP reading and bilateral ear infections????????? C'mon folks, just how are we to do our job when the patient has no fever, no loss of appetite until it's days into the infection, no lethargy, no inflamed mucus tissues???? Oh yeah, the first report of ear pain was after the enchiladas were served tonight! We were at Urgent Care fifteen minutes later because the next step for her is a series of asthma attacks which have been ending up in pneumonia lately!
Hoping for a little sympathy vote Mari hopped on the gurney and little did she anticipate that she too would end up with the dreaded throat swab! Negative, yeah!!!!!!!
Suffering patient as she waited for the spot strep sarcasm here! The doctor did help me get through to her by teaching her the difference between itch and scratch, and between scratch and sore. Hopefully this SIXTH positive strep in 14 months will push the pediatrician to act on my plea for an ENT referral! Meanwhile she gets another sick day from school..with only 4 left before the First Communion ceremony.
Waiting and is there any wonder that Barney and Marley were conceived and turned into a comedy show?
This is Mari 'pretending' to milk her blue cow :) Oh, Daddy would be so proud of his little dairy maid! I guess I knew the results when the nurse finally reappeared with Popsicles in hand!
She is soooo going to kill me for posting this but I couldn't resist!!! Mari got a 'sympathy' pop which was much to her liking....obviously. Love the quiet zoom feature on my new camera!
Nice try honey but we saw the 'real' Mari in the shot above but I knew you'd like a chance to show of some of your better manners so I'll post this one just for you Miss Fabulous!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

One Hundred and Thirty Nine....

that is the number of HOURS until Julia's First Communion ceremony begins and the dress is DONE!!!! I guess given the unpredictable nature of our lives lately I can see why Auntie Peggy and Daddy wanted to see a completed gown. I am , however, now deprived of a critical motivator to get all the other things on the 'to do' list accomplished! The cake is ordered and I just need to leave 3+ hours of my Friday open in order to make the drive to Indiana to pick it up...yeah, you'd think with the number of bakeries in the Chicago metropolitan area that I could find one closer but noooo not the Mahoney family. We loooove Stephanie's cakes (and cupcakes as Julia requested as her part of the design) so a trek to the pastoral countryside is in order. BFF/Cousin Deirdre and Julia are having a joint party and it's a good thing they adore each other because trying to merge their very disparate styles has been a trick! Deirdre wanted a cross shaped cake with pink you know how Julia greeted that idea. Easy enough fix though since the pale blue frosting on the tie-dyed cupcakes which will fill the spaces around the cross shaped cake are just her 'piece of cake'....sorry it just wanted to be typed! Now to get the typically Irish relatives to actually RSVP so we can finalize the caterer's count. Then there's the matter of finding an evening this week to fit in a portrait session....... Front view....just needs a last minute steam to get the final creases to relax. She so forbid me to add any 'ruffles or bling' as she called it. I would so have added Swaroski rhinestones and a flounce or two at the hemline if it was my call!
Back view...I had a bunch more of the little flowers scavenged from the scraps of the bodice material that I thought I'd put on the veiling but she just about turned inside out with disgust at the idea. "That would be so giiiiiiiiirly!" was her response, sigh. I just haven't figured out what is so darn wrong with a girl being girly?
See, this is one happy Julia! Fresh from soccer practice with wind blown hair free of any clips or scrunchies and plenty of dirt to boot!
No good soccer star makes it through a spring workout in the Midwest without becoming well acquainted with mud! We've had rain 4 out of the past 5 days and all I can say is that at least it isn't SNOW anymore!!!!!!!!!!!! The frustrating thing now is the uncertainty of game time. Three of the four games scheduled on Friday and Saturday involved strapping on shin guards and cleats, donning freshly laundered uniforms, making ice filled water bottles, and racing to fields all over town only to have the weather sirens blow before the starting whistle!!!! Then starts the half hour huddle in the minivan as we wait to see if an 'all clear' siren sounds...which never did! Now we have to try and squeeze three make up games into our already tightly packed spring season.
One of the benefits of huge Irish families is the variety of professionals who 'owe' you some office time! My brother, the chiropractor, has determined that the damage was muscular and limited and thanks to his magic hands I no longer need the canes! Actually I am even pain free when walking or sitting it's just the movement to the sitting or standing position that still gives me pain. ...and forget about bending to pick up anything I drop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At this pace I'm hoping that this incident will be resolved by the weekend festivities. One of the deficits of having a huge Irish family are the number of siblings who hear the story and now nag me about my lack of physical conditioning!!! Guess this is a pretty clear warning to get off my hiney and get exercising.........

Sunday, April 19, 2009

With my back against a wall....

Literally and figuratively!!!!!!!!! So some of you know me well enough to know I'm a world class procrastinator but to those just getting to know me well....I think more clearly under pressure:) My brain runs at high speed and at all hours of the day and night and the only way to harness this is to pile on pressure from impending deadlines. Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it. To this point, it was made very clear to me that yesterday marked the two week count down to Julia's First Communion and not a stitch has been put into her dress as of yet. REALLY, I promise that is PLENTY of time to get the fairly simple and UNGIRLY dress that Julia has settled on completed. There are those around me though, who don't do last minute well at all and if I'm to get any sleep in the next two weeks I better step up and give him something to see. Patrick still hasn't 'gotten' my ways after twelve going on thirteen years of marriage but being fair....I still don't get why he has to do everything EARLY?!?! So as crazy as it sounds I eased my way down into the salt mine and with the aid of a fiberboard backrest and firm pillows I seated my self at the sewing machine. First I tackled the veiling which is now firmly attached to the headpiece, comb and all! Just needs a good steaming to ease the wrinkles caused by the gathering process and a co-operative head. Julia is still hoping beyond hope that the dress code will miraculously change....after what, a couple of centuries??
Moved on to what we sewers call 'the muslin' which is a cotton mock up which we use to make alterations. It fit great so I actually cut the real live fabric!!! Sleeves are lined and just need to be sewn onto the bodice when it's ready.
The bodice is underway! At this point I figured there was enough progress to keep the Daddy happy for which I'm hoping my aching back recovers. Not likely, since my work has scheduled a bazillion schools in these last weeks of the school year and of course they are in the HIGH RISK communities. Tomorrow's school has 138 children who need exams....146 is my personal record in a single school day and that was on a day when my back felt just fine!! I've called the hygienists and warned them...............
P.S.- Mari willingly took the pork piquante y frijoles I made for dinner! Seems she can just about bite without shooting pain. Hopefully her next ortho appointment on July 2nd won't ruin the holiday barbecue!!!!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

On backs and braces...or maybe backs needing braces?

What a week!!!! As you may have noticed there were a few days of blog absence on my part and the reasons went from delightful to frightful! So, as the saga deepens, Julia and Mari now had two different spring breaks due to the sudden school change and Auntie Peggy had taken Mari off to the Dells for the 'public school' break. This left the 'private school' crowd clamoring for fair play so being the marshmallows that we are off to Lake Geneva we escaped. As we drove up to our water park adventure notice the field next to the hotel!! Yep, Julia just seems to have this horse karma! Unfortunately for her I do NOT have any positive karma to speak of and the tantalizingly close horseback riding did not come to fruition! Seems that I was meant to have a bonding experience with Rhonda. Not that I don't want to bond with Rhonda but I could picture several far superior ways in which to accomplish the act! So what am I talking about, you ask????
Poor Julia, this is as close as she got to the horses and the picture is thanks to her doll of a cousin, Mairead!!! You see I was busy laying in the back of the minivan screaming in pain....cursing actually....words little girls should not be hearing and that is why they were sent to pet horses! As our trip was ending, as we dried off and dressed from the last dip in the pool, as I bent to pull on my pant leg....oh the memory is too painful...literally painful!!!!!!!!!! The searing pain as something in my lumbar region tore or ruptured is literally indescribable. Rhonda, you need not try and explain ever again....I GET IT!
So here I am 2+ hours away from home as the only adult travelling with 3 children under 12 with waaaaay too little Motrin in the purse. What's a woman to do? Yep, what every woman does!! I sucked it up HARD and eeeeeased into the driver's seat and headed for home. I told the little ladies to put on their head phones and turn their music up because the torrent of tears and cuss words was the only way I could propel myself forward. Mairead was a STAR as she played personal assistant. She calmed the little girls as she placed cell phone calls to family back home giving them a heads up on my situation. Mercifully I made it safely! Of course I was now completely crippled after sitting for two hours letting the damage become over inflamed and ended up crawling from the van into the house. My computer is located down stairs so there was no way I could get to it for a couple of days. I only just, with the help of a cane, can make it down as of tonight but don't expect I'll try again for another day or two :)! I'm having a serious case of envy over Rhonda's custom back brace.....just not her surgical complications!!!
So speaking of braces....
Today was the BIG day for Mari! Here, thanks to Auntie Peggy, is a 'before' shot.
Dr. Mike and I soooo did that annoying chatting 'above' the patient thing! Mari's used to dental speak and just chilled as the hardware was installed. I'm sooooo having a talk with our procurement office about his 'pony tail' head rests!!!!!!!!!
Hah, now she can't talk! Gotta make a note to invest in one of these for 'home use' :)!
"C'mon Mom! Do you need to have a picture of everything?" Yep! Even the etching step because you never know when I might be able to use this for blackmail :)!
Definitely using this picture already! See that thumb's up sign? Well it took less than an hour before the groaning and moaning began so I get to remind her how much SHE WANTED to get going on those braces. Shhh, but I did have some Gogurt in stock in anticipation.
So minimal in comparison to the 'old days'! ....and yet so mind do we really wrap our brains around the disparity between her life's trajectory and that of her many siblings in Guatemala? How superficial to want her teeth optimally aligned while her parents and siblings struggle to find clean drinking water and sufficient food! Got to get the back healed so I can get back into the salt mine and make more outfits to sell so that the monthly food baskets can be delivered to the birth family!!!!!!!!


April showers seem to be the driving force in this week's FFF theme of wet. While this part of the midwest seems to be waiting breathlessly for spring to actually arrive with it's showers we do have a few recent WET pictures to share :) Spring break 2009 was NOT spent on Lido Beach as you may have heard...once or twice!! Not to miss out completely on R&R this spring we visited The Great Wolf Lodge in the Dells and Timber Ridge Lodge in Lake Geneva. Mari and Alyssa discovered during a hot tub session that their manicures were very 'bumblebee' :)
What's the vote on how much longer Mari will be dry? Those slippery log chips sent many a swimmer into the pool!
The BFF cousins found the lazy river to their liking!
Poor Deirdre needs just an inch or two more in height for this pool.
My water baby!!! While Mari took a few years to warm up to the whole swimming concept our Julia paddled happily from her first dunk! Alas, spring break is now over and MoGuate will probably be our next waterpark visit in August.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Little Girls and Race Cars

Slowly I'm molding my routine back to a 'normal' of sorts! Mari is settled in nicely and Julia is on spring break so I have the time to get back into the salt mine. There is so much positive karma received when I'm sewing that I have to wonder why I so often abandon this activity during times of stress? With every idea brought from concept to finished product I receive personal gratification. The happiness shining from the faces of the recipients of the garments adds to the positive emotional tally. Nothing can beat the news each month that Mari's birth family arrived in town to pick up their food baskets paid for from the profits of the sewing. The sum of all this positive karma would lead one to think I should sew more not less!! Sigh, it's just so hard to justify isolating myself into the salt mine when the world around me is in crisis. Hope springs eternal that the winning lottery ticket will some day make it's way into my hand so I can build my dream house where the sewing room is a sun-filled place in the hub of the home :)! So here is an update from the salt mine....... Julia is all SMILES now that I finished her Cars outfit so it isn't too girly! We abandoned the first top altogether and I pieced together a few of her favorite characters into a strip outlined in checkered ribbon and sewed in onto a 'comfy' tee shirt. Clothes for Julia are all about COMFY!
Well Vanessa, here is the 'McQueen' outfit! This set is a 36mos and I'm asking $40 for this 3 piece group. The skirt uses an EUC denim generously donated by Rhonda and boy there are more outfits to come thanks to her and Vanessa's overwhelmingly generous act of sending me boxes full to the brim with denim!!!!!!
The top is a halter in a red Lightening McQueen print with a checkered print ruffle.
The back of the halter has an elastic band to help with the fit and there is red ric-rac trim on the pockets and bottom ruffle.
The third piece is a co-ordinated bow! I'm sooooooo struggling with my bows. I'm sure it had a lot to do with my feeling that it's usually cheaper and easier to buy one than wrestle with ribbon and hot glue guns. Maybe I'll find a bow-maker to team up with so all the outfits can come with accessories :)!
I do have enough material left to make up another so if anyone is interested in a similar outfit for their girl who likes life in the fast lane just drop me a note at Muingapat at sbcglobal dot net...sorry but I'm trying to overtax my spam filter!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!!!

Here's hoping everyone had a happy and holy Easter day!! Yet again we had the opportunity to reflect on the blessings we have in this country which are denied the lowly all over the world. Due to our good fortune to be born in this country in this age the medicines we were blessed to have on hand worked to bring Julia back to the picture of health this morning!!The promise of a high calorie breakfast delivered by a bunny probably didn't hurt either :)! The weather was about as would be expected for spring in the mid-west and at least the sun held steady all day. As expected the church was packed to the rafters but the music was stirring and the sermon short and we walked home feeling the Alleluia mood!!!!! Poor Patrick only had time for our 'traditional breakfast' of Irish bangers and fried eggs before heading off to work and the door had hardly closed behind him when the rest of the relatives started arriving. A great time was had by all from the 3yo to the 83yo! Equal opportunity home here! Even the children are allowed to work in the kitchen as other children manned the camera. Mari caught this picture of a couple of us working on setting up the buffet. That would be me with the lobster look! Someday I hope to learn that sunscreen is my friend.
His wife will thank us someday! Anyone who wanted to hang out in the kitchen HAD to be working so Ethan put some of his toddler exuberance into 'smashing' the spuds and boy were they SMASHED!
How do you know when a child's consumed lethal levels of chocolate?? I'm voting that when they try to 'catch' themselves in a butterfly net and feel the need to whack the catch in the head with a mallet might be an indication...hmmm do you think? His mother, the one with two TWO sons assured us that this was really just 'normal' boy behavior and would just as likely occurred without the influence of sugar :) Thank you God for my two GIRLS!
A phone call at 8:30pm from my boss was not a good sign for the rest of my vacation! Seems the dentist scheduled for tomorrow called in sick and they're desperate. Here's hoping it's the only time I have to go in when I'm supposed to be 'on holidays' as Patrick calls vacation. Just for your viewing pleasure I'm closing with a few pictures from Easters present and past. Enjoy!
This morning.
Only just last year! They've both grown up soooooo much since then. We missed you St. Martha's in Sarasota!!!!!
Julia HATED that haircut!
Yep, I'm one of those matching Moms! Caved a little this year by letting them choose their own skirts. Oh St. Martha's we REALLY, REALLY missed you this year!
Mari's first Easter with us was only three weeks after coming home! To think she spoke not a word of English when this photo was taken yet she clearly is happy to be posing with the cousins. This was also the last time we spent Semana Santa in Illinois. Did I mention how much I missed being in Sarasota???